Silver miniature vessel, he

Silver miniature vessel, he

Qing dynasty, 19th – early 20th century

Height: 3 5/8 inches, 9.3 cm
Width: 3 3/8 inches, 8.5 cm

See also:
Silver miniature vessel, jue
Silver miniature vessel, fang ding

A miniature silver vessel of archaic bronze he form, supported on three short cabriole legs. The ewer has a curved spout in the form of a scaled monster’s head with open mouth and pricked ears. The handle terminates in a further monster’s head, seemingly devouring the other monster. The circular cover is engraved with wavy patterns.  The bulbous body is adorned with a band of continuous chi-dragon motifs. The base of the vessel bears the mark Wen (‘sterling’).


These delicately made miniature silver vessels, truthfully representing their archaic bronze prototypes that date from the Shang (16th century- c. 1046 BC) or Zhou dynasty (c. 1046 – 221 BC), were probably intended for the local Chinese market.  During the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911), collectors are said to have devoted much time to amassing miniature treasures, which they kept in curio cabinets that were fitted out with a series of small compartments. Miniature bronze vessels, many inlaid with gold and silver, were appreciated and treasured by collectors.[1]  Such miniature silver pieces might have served the same function, being appreciated in scholar’s studios. A comparable but much larger silver filigree incense burner of archaic fang ding form, dated to the first half of the 18th century, is in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.[2]


1 Examples can be found in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, see Kerr, R. Later Chinese Bronzes, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, no. 40, p. 51
2 Menshikova, M. etc. Silver Wonders from the East: Filigree of the Tsars, Waanders Publishers, Zwolle, 2006, cat. no. 12, pp. 63, 104-5


清 十九 – 二十世紀初
銀爵 高:9.5 公分 寬:8.5 公分 「純銀」,「美」底款
銀方鼎 高:5.4 公分 寬:5.1 公分 「純銀」,「美」底款
銀盉 高:9.3 公分 寬:8.5 公分 「紋」底款
迷你銀器三件,器型均源自上古青銅器,依照比例縮製而成。銀爵,長流尖尾,帽頂立柱,器深腹 成圓卵形,腹身兩側各有一周饕餮紋,腹側一邊設有弧形柄。銀鼎,方形四足,雙豎耳,側邊上緣 飾對龍紋一周,四角有突棱脊。銀盉,球狀壺體立於三足,獸首流,另一獸身提樑把張口欲噬。清 代收藏迷你珍玩風氣特盛,仿古迷你銅器深受藏家歡迎,惟此種純銀或紋銀製仿古器甚是少見,與 中國外銷銀典型器不同,應專為中國內銷市場製作。俄國聖彼得堡冬宮中的隱士廬博物館中藏有一 件金銀鏍絲方鼎,亦為仿古銅器型,定年為十八世紀初製品。